After Borrowing

Remember I said I borrowed 5 books? Yeah, I only managed to complete 1. 3 books were unfinished and 1 was completely untouched (The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel). That was all I could manage in 2 long months. How sad.

Image result for some kind of normal  Image result for when in doubt add butter  Image result for little beach street bakery

However, to defend myself, I chose not to finish one of the books (Some Kind Of Normal by Juliana Stone) because it was too ‘teenage-romance’ for my liking. I thought high-school/teenage romance cliches appeal to me, but I learnt that its appeal only applies to movies. Perhaps it’s because reading requires more of my time and if I had to invest my time in reading, I’d rather read a book that has an unpredictable plot.

I could almost finish another book (When In Doubt, Add Butter by Elizabeth Harbison) but didn’t because I caved and read the ending. It spoiled the fun for me so I stopped reading it. YOU NEVER READ THE ENDING. You just don’t. It’s like a spoiler for movies. It ruins everything. I find that this always happens to me, unfortunately. Even with dramas. Whenever I get too eager to know what happens but am not patient enough to watch the events leading up to it play out, I will read recaps AND THEN mentally throttle myself for succumbing to my temptations and spoiling the fun. What made me want to read the book was the development of romance that stemmed simply from written messages passed between 2 characters. Other than that, the storyline was average. There were also scenes I would much rather not read (read: bed scenes).

I barely touched the fourth book (Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan), although it was the book I was most excited to read. I knew I would love the style of writing and I was right because the author is British, but she used far too many new vocabulary I had to look up the dictionary every 10 minutes. It was disruptive and tiring, but I promise myself I will pick up the book again because I really do want to know what happens. Plus, we’re talking about bakery. I utterly adore bakery-themed books.

Image result for I'm Still Here (Je Suis Là)

Alas, the only book I managed to complete is the one above. It was originally in French but was translated by- I presume -an American author because the writing sounds very American. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It’s romance-themed set in a hospital, revolving around a man and a woman who’s in a coma . I can understand how the woman in the coma could fall in love with the man who bares his soul to her (as she can listen and formulate her response in her mind) but the man, too, falls in love with a woman. How interesting is that? No matter how I think about it, it simply doesn’t make sense to me. How do you fall in love with someone you barely know and cannot engage in a proper communication with. I wanted to find out how. I could almost accept the concept but halfway through I realised that I’m reading from the point of view of both the characters so I’m aware of either of their thoughts, but for the man, he hasn’t got a clue what she’s thinking. In the end, I still couldn’t comprehend how something like that can happen.  But, it was still fun to read.

Finally, from this experience, I learnt that I shouldn’t overestimate my capabilities, especially as I’m only getting back to reading. Lmao.

Love, Amelia

 

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Life atm

Salam,

It’s been quite a while. Recently, I was motivated to write a post about my uncongenial sibling relationship, but I forgot why I wanted to talk about it in the first place so I only left it in my Drafts. I felt like I need a good enough reason to share something so personal. I suppose the reason why I decided to bare my sole and talk about it is for me to comprehend why exactly this has happened.

I am not talking to my sister, and haven’t been for quite a long while. I know my mother wishes that we talk, but affection cannot be forced. I can be quite childish and play the silent treatment game, but experience have made me wiser and I understand why my mother would want to see her children bond. I thought long and hard, and I became slightly baffled. My sister and I weren’t exactly close to start of with, but our relationship wasn’t too bad. We joked and laughed and could tell each other secrets. We didn’t stop talking without reason. An incident that happened about 2 years ago triggered it. I may have blown it out of proportion, I confess, but, several times, I had wanted to reconcile. However, each time I had wanted to, she annoyed me again and the feeling instantly dissipated. I will not go into detail about what she had done because I am not a saint and I’m sure I’m also guilty – one way or another – of contributing to our fall-out.

For a while, I felt horrid for being this way. I wanted to know if it was normal for siblings to be like this, so I resorted to Internet to find out. I read several blog posts, one of which this one. My sister truly isn’t that bad, but what I learned was that, while it is considered undesirable, it isn’t very wrong. Yes, I know that Islam discourages estrangement amongst relatives, but it just feels so difficult right now.

I really wish I could talk to her, but I just cannot bring myself to do it. I have so much built-up frustration towards her that the thought of talking to her seems so impossible. I suppose I’m quite tired. My poor mother depends on me the most and I don’t blame her for any of this. I am trying my best to be a good daughter (I don’t think I am there yet, honestly) and will continue to do that but what frustrates me the most is that I am fighting to make things easier for my mother against all 3 of my siblings. I, alone, am not enough to make my mother happy.


Now, on to happy things. I cooked for the family thrice, and unsupervised! Boy, was it pressurizing.

Menu was:

  1. Paru Semor Suun (beef lungs + glass vermicelli + dry sambal)
  2. Chicken Rice
  3. Spaghetti Bolognese

The first one was quite a disappointment. The paru was so difficult to chew because I didn’t boil it long enough, though the taste was quite spot-on. I was low-key shattered. I truly felt so sad. This always happens when something I made doesn’t quite make the cut.

But, Alhamdulillah, I succeeded with the other two. You have no idea how accomplished I feel. My father loves my mother’s cooking and he couldn’t detect the difference. That’s an excellent start! One thing I realised after having done housework succeedingly for three days back-to-back – IT! IS! TIRING! How my mother does it routinely for close to 25 years bemuses me. She is a superwoman. Mothers are superheroes, I tell ya. (Of course, fathers can be too. No discriminating here :P)

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Truthfully, I am torn between wanting to be a careermum or a homemaker. First off, I’ll let you know that being a wife and mother has always been a life goal of mine. Growing up in a household with a housewife as a mother influenced me a lot in my desire to be a stay-at-home mum. I enjoy doing housework, that’s one, but I also think for some woman, there’s so much joy in being able to be there for our children literally every step of the way, witnessing their growth, having all the time in our hands to make our family breakfast, help our children get dressed for school, sending them to school, allowing our family to come back home to us, help our children with their school work, the list goes on. Not that we can’t do all of that while working, but try as we might to balance work and family, we will somewhat be limited by exhaustion and/or stress from work. Not all women will agree with me, but seeing as how from a young age (I berangan a lot, lmao, please spare me your judgment), I’ve always dreamed (yes, dreamed) of being a stay-at-home mum, I feel extremely tormented between wanting to be that and pursuing a (perhaps successful) career as a social worker – which is a recognisably physically and mentally draining job – or other probable job my qualification might take me.

Talking about qualification – I am starting school very soon! I am terrified. Once in poly I was so overwhelmed by the intensity of the semester that I cried due to stress. Over something that hasn’t even begun yet. Admittedly, I am quite the crier. In primary school, I cried in an English class because I couldn’t describe an oral picture. In secondary school, I cried due to fear of heights when attempting several high elements course during camp and in poly, at freaking 17, I cried TWICE – the first time in a public speaking class when I stumbled during an impromptu presentation and the second at a high element course. You can probably deduce from the above-mentioned that 1) I am very expressive – can’t help it, 2) I am TERRIFIED of heights, and 3) I hate public speaking.

I don’t think I’ve shared this before but it has been confirmed (insyaAllah) that I will be studying Social Work at SUSS (previously SIM University). I attended their Get To Know You Session on Wednesday, where students were informed of what to expect during our 4-year programme. I left the room feeling bloody petrified and slightly regretful I hadn’t chosen Criminology at SIT. But who knows, Criminology could be worse. The lecturers were set to scare us, I’ll have you know. The same thing happened in poly and usually, the semester turned out to be better than I’d expected. So I don’t know if they’re just trying to prepare us for the worst or informing us of the realities of the programme. We were informed that there will be a lot of public speaking. Just thinking about it makes me feel faint. But, InsyaAllah it will prepare me well for the job because being a social worker involves a lot of communicating.

But if there’s one thing I learnt, it’s that they lied. I was told by many (i.e. my public speaking tutor) that with practice comes improvement or perfection or whatever, but I can vouch for its fallacy. Not sure if I had sufficient practice but in secondary school, I held several leadership roles where I had to repeatedly speak in front of a crowd (as a student councillor, camp facilitator, CCA main committee) and in poly, where I had to do countless presentations, and yet, at every instant where I had to speak up, I am engulfed by a colossal wave of anxiety comprising of 1) wild butterflies bombarding the insides of my stomach, 2) the false urge to poop, 3) face red and hot as burning coal, 4) sweat swamping my entire existence and 5) a desire to escape from reality. Fine that I experience that, but I thought I hid it well. N to the O. P. E.  People often ask me if I’m nervous, tell me to “relax”, “take a deep breath”, “count to ten”, so on and so forth. And as if that’s not telling enough, my hands literally vibrate if I’m holding a cue card, which oftentimes, is a necessity (for me).

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Sometimes, I feel disadvantaged because the ability to communicate and/or speak well is an asset for school and work success. Yeah, success requires stepping out of the comfort zone, yada yada, but at times, I get so tired of repeatedly experiencing such an anxiety that I just wish I could forever stay in my cozy, warm bubble of comfort.

Love,
Amelia

 

 

Babbles

I suck at titles when what I want to talk about doesn’t have a theme, so I’ve decided for such posts, I will just title them as ‘Babbles’ categorised under – yep, you guessed it – ‘Babbles’. I figure adding categories would be convenient for readers and myself. It’s also useful for readers who might be sensitive towards certain type of posts (i.e. rants). If you’re one of them, kindly avoid all my rants, thanks.

My blog is still under construction – there are still tons of uncategorised posts. I am going to categorise each post to neaten my blog because I am a quite anal about organisation. I’m also going to remove some posts. I recently converted from Tumblr, so there are a lot of reblogged pictures and posts. I don’t quite fancy them being here so I’m going to delete them but keep them on my initial personal blog. I am also going to clean up that blog, but I’ll leave that for later.

If you wonder why I have 3 blogs, here’s why (skip if you’re not concerned): my main Tumblr is for reblogging images or quotes I identify with or enjoy looking at – but, I maintain its aesthetic. My other Tumblr is where majority of the posts here came from. It used to be where I rant and talk about personal things as well as reblog images or quotes that doesn’t quite fit my main blog. Now, however, I will post all my lengthy personal posts here, and leave my personal Tumblr primarily for reblogging images or quotes.

…I suppose I’m rather fussy when it comes to things like this, hahah. I utterly love my main Tumblr though. It’s simple but I spent a long time customising the design. Took care of it like it’s my baby, and I occasionally drop by just to revel in the fruits of my (scant) labour. And if you’re wondering, my URL comes from my self-created Korean name, Shin Ji Hye, 신지혜 (‘hye’ pronounced as ‘hey’).

Love, Amelia

 

Sea Of Books

I went to the library for the first time in ageeees and it made me so ridiculously happy. Being enveloped in a sea of books and its enticing smell reminded me of just how much I loved reading and, simply, books. I walked out of the library 5 books heavier.

One of the books I borrowed is recommended by a friend – it discusses life after a spouse’s death. Another is a cliche teenage romance, 2 others are bakery- romance themed and the last is also romance but set in a hospital. If it isn’t obvious enough, I love to read romance novels.  It used to make me feel really silly because I know there is more to life than romantic love and, oddly, I felt envious whenever I encounter bookworms raving about non-romance related books. I’m not ashamed of it anymore because, really, why do I have to be ashamed of something I like? I also love love love bakery-themed books. It’s funny – the word bakery on its own is capable of sending sparks of glee inside of me. I love baking and whenever I imagine the glorious foods (breads especially), engulfing sweet aroma and cosy ambience of a rustic, wooden-furnished, yellow-lighted store (how I imagine my ideal bakery to be), I just fall deeply in love.

And I notice that I tend to enjoy reading books written by English authors more than American.  There’s just something more appealing about the way they phrase their sentences, their choice of words and simply, their aura.

I’m 3/4 through the teenage romance novel and I must say I am disappointed by how fast things are moving. There were barely any relationship progression and all of a sudden, they began to like each other and were kissing. I personally regard kissing as a big thing, where religion isn’t a concern. It should be saved for someone you love; not someone you simply like. People pass around kisses like nobody’s business. It mortifies me. The story also discusses life issues surrounding the 2 main characters – that appeals to me more than the romance, honestly.

I will share about the books in greater detail once I’ve finished reading them, so that I can squeeze in a brief review. I’m very excited to start on the bakery-themed ones but I’m careful about harbouring high expectations for the fear of disappointment.

Love, Amelia

 

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Full credits to Pinch Of Yum

Ingredients
  • 112g salted butter
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 55g packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 192g all purpose flour (more as needed)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 130 g chocolate chips
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Microwave the butter for  30-40 seconds to just barely melt it. It shouldn’t be hot – but it should be almost entirely in liquid form.
  2. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated – 10-15 seconds or so (if you beat the egg for too long, the cookies will be stiff).
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until crumbles form. Use your hands to press the crumbles together into a dough. It should form one large ball that is easy to handle (right at the stage between “wet” dough and “dry” dough). Add the chocolate chips and incorporate with your hands.
  4. Roll the dough into 12 large balls (or 9 for HUGELY awesome cookies) and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies look puffy and dry and just barely golden. DO NOT OVERBAKE. They’ll be pale and puffy.
  5. Let them cool on the pan for a good 30 minutes or so. They will sink down and turn into these dense, buttery, soft cookies.  Cookies should stay soft for many days if kept in an airtight container.

3.14am

First and foremost, let me get this off my chest – if you do decide to read my blogposts from several years ago, kindly consider the fact that I was younger then because – I admit –  they can be quite embarrassing.

It’s 3.14 am as I’m typing this. I’ve just finished baking cookies to give some of my friends later. I didn’t make much – enough for 9, 1 large soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie for each person. What’s the occasion, you might ask? I graduate from poly today. I had imagined graduation to be an occasion to be proud of but, honestly, I don’t have strong feelings about it.

I should really sleep, especially as I require ample rest to fuel me for a busy day ahead but I drank a full mug of strong black coffee less than 3 hours ago. I honestly tried, but my attempts have been futile. Coffee works that way for me.

I was browsing through Pinterest earlier and having chanced upon writing tips made me realise just how much I miss writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing (novels) but hardly have the commitment to complete them. When it comes to reading, I bask in a writer’s ability to describe a situation so well, allowing readers to precisely picture the situation. I aspire to write that well. InsyaAllah I will make time for it once the buzz in my life has died down. The past week has been bustling but I’m not complaining because I take pleasure in knowing I’ve made full use of my time. I love being productive but sometimes, the laze bugs just get the better of you, you know? They can be quite insisting…

Love, Amelia

 

 

 

A Bigger Purpose; A Healthier Me

Since the start of 2017, I have been attempting to maintain a healthier diet and inculcate more exercise into my routine. I’ve begun to comprehend the importance of both in ensuring a healthier me, physically and mentally.

I’m quite proud of myself, I daresay. I’ve been exercising rather regularly now, and am incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet while cutting out the less healthy foods. I’ll admit that I find it difficult to cut out sugar most of all. I love my sweets and I find that I consume something sweet (chocolate, pastry, etc) at least once a day. Sometimes, I do feel burdened by having to eat healthy all the time because a part of me misses the times when I used to eat without constantly caring about portions, calories, etc.

I feel vulnerable admitting this, but I know that the reasons behind me making this lifestyle change aren’t all healthy. A part of me wants to do this to ‘look good’. While I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong, I think it’s more important to want to keep healthy for a bigger, wholesome purpose.

During my worse days, I tend to feel like I’m too far gone  – it’s too late for me to make a change. So I continue to shove junk into my system. Which, then, makes me feel worse.

I want this lifestyle alteration to make me a better, healthier and stronger person, not the other way round. I am trying very hard to not let things like calories and macros consume me too much, such that it becomes detrimental to my mental health. I will not beat myself up over a doughnut I ate. I will not deprive myself of something I terribly crave. I will not force myself to eat foods I don’t enjoy eating just to ‘keep healthy’. On the other hand, I will not excessively consume unhealthy foods. I will not exceedingly idolise fitness enthusiasts to a point where it destructs my mental health.

I will eat whatever I wish like eating in moderation. I will only integrate nutritious foods that I enjoy eating into my diet. I will use other people’s health and fitness journey strictly as motivation, whilst understanding the differences that accompany each person’s journey.

I will do this for me, for a larger purpose. I will love myself unconditionally. InsyaAllah.

Love, Amelia.

 

 

Ribeye Steak

I just wanted to share my steak-making experience, particularly for me to remember.

My first try was pretty much horrible. The steak turned out too salty and too tough. I wanted to make well done steak but know that it’s virtually impossible for it to turn out juicy/tender/soft. So when I found a recipe that claims to produce a juicy well done steak, I was elated. It didn’t turn out how I wanted it to be, of course.

The recipe calls for the steak to be cooked on a skillet on high heat for 5-6 mins on each side, then transferred to an oven to allow it to cook off. Ingredients include salt, thyme, butter. I really wanted to do a good job so I made sure I followed the recipe to a T. I cooked the steak for 5 mins on each side and it already was practically hard as rock. The taste was horrible because the saltiness overpowered whatever flavour that was present. Unfortunately, when I prepared the steak, I was unsure of how much salt to put. All the recipes I found did not specify, and after much research, I found a website that recommended adding a generous amount because “only the exterior of the steak would come into contact with the salt”, which meant that its center would be bland. I thought that made sense, and so I did. Excessively.

I guess it’s safe to say that my first try was a complete failure. I was disgruntled because the steak was not cheap. It wasn’t prime or anything, but it still was expensive for me.

The second time, thankfully, was a much better experience. I gathered several recipes and picked out useful information from each. The steak was tasty but still slightly tough. I should have measured the thickness of the steak but I didn’t. I presume it was marginally less than an inch thick. It’s always good to get steak that’s at least an inch thick, however.

This was the recipe I ended up using for well done steak:

For one ribeye steak (specifically ribeye),

  • ¾ teaspoon sea/Kosher salt (absolutely no table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 whole garlic (optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • A knob of butter

Method

  1. Remove steak from the refrigerator and let them
    sit for about 30 minutes or until room temperature.
  2. Coat steak (with fat attached; it gives flavour) with black pepper and set aside.
  3. Heat skillet until very hot and add oil and butter. Allow butter to foam a little.
  4. Add salt and whole garliconto skillet. Allow to heat up for 1 minute.
  5. Place steak on coarse salt and cook for 2.5 minutes; do not disturb at all.
  6. Turn steak and cook for another 2.5 minutes; again, do not disturb at
    all. (As the steak I bought was rather thin, 2.5 minutes on high heat would be enough to cook it to well done. However, I cooked mine for 3 minutes each side, but later found it still a tad tough. Adjust timing according to thickness of steak.)
  7. Scrape excess salt and pepper if desired and
    discard.
  8. Allow steak to rest for 10 mins.
  9. Remove fat from steak before serving.
  10. Slice the steaks on an angle
    about ¼ inch to 3/8 inch thickness if desired.

Thoughts

Wheee just came back from a 5km run!! My longest and fastest one yet, Alhamdulillah. I prefer morning jogs though, I realise! Somehow, I find that I experience heartburn (??) or slight discomfort nearly every time I run at night.

I’m liking running more now but I really wish I was more consistent in my weekly runs. I tend to be lazy to get my ass out of the house when I don’t have a running buddy. Also, great news! – my knees don’t hurt anymore!! Perhaps it’s due to the shoes I was wearing.

Anyway, I came across a post on Instagram glorifying a Black teenager who invented a now popular surgical technique with a #blackslayingit hashtag and a thought crossed my mind. I see such posts a lot and while I am all for appreciating all races, I find that such hashtags tend to be counterproductive. I completely understand how proud a certain race must feel when their racial counterpart attains success. I mean, I feel proud when I see Malays achieving great things and I may pay homage to them. It’s just that when you attach such a hashtag, it kinds of denotes a certain form of racial supremacy. I don’t know, it’s my honest opinion. I may be wrong. But because that’s how I feel, such posts often vex me. I don’t mean any offence when I say this, do believe me! Perhaps this is their way of lauding their race after having put up with a lot of discrimination in the past and probably even now.

Ah I don’t know where I’m going with this. I shall end here for now.

Empty Shops

Do you ever walk pass an empty shop/store/restaurant and feel so sad for the owners?  I get excessively affected – I cannot help it. I tell myself not to let it affect me because honestly, it has nothing to do with me, but I simply cannot pretend I don’t care. Is that weird? I care so much that I have come to hate walking pass/ looking at empty shops. If I see one, I instantly turn my gaze away. I may not know much about business but I do know it is not easy. I’ve heard that many struggle to keep up with the rent in Singapore and it makes me sad. Perhaps it’s not actually as bad as it seems – in any case, I wish nothing but the best for them. Truly.